It Turns Out That Strikeouts Are Bad and Other Cubs Bullets

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It Turns Out That Strikeouts Are Bad and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I’m glad we get at least one Game Five in the LDS round tonight, with the Rays and Yankees going at 6:10pm CT on TBS. It’s been one week since the Cubs were eliminated from the postseason, and I think I’m ready to watch other postseason games without mostly just being extremely annoyed and unhappy that the Cubs were so quickly bounced.


•   This is something that should feel intuitive to Cubs fans by now:

•   Yes, the Cubs had a  higher strikeout rate than the Marlins this year, for what it’s worth. Moreover, if you were wondering, with a look back over this competitive window, where the Cubs stood on strikeout rate since 2015:

2015 Cubs: 24.5%, worst in MLB

2016 Cubs: 21.1%, 14th in MLB

2017 Cubs: 22.3%, 19th in MLB

2018 Cubs: 21.8%, 11th in MLB

2019 Cubs: 23.6%, 20th in MLB

2020 Cubs: 25.7%, 27th in MLB

•   Interesting that the 2015 club was worst in MLB, but it was awfully young, and the offense exploded in the second half of the season to make up for the strikeouts. In fact, they had the 7th best offense in baseball in the second half that year, despite leading the league (in a bad way) in strikeout rate by a mile. Kinda makes you wonder if, because of the success that year, it got a bug in the institution’s ear that strikeouts really aren’t all that bad. Heck, the Cubs were middle-of-the-pack in strikeout rate in 2016, but they had the third best offense in baseball. You just wonder if some of the players, and the organization as a whole, got a little stunted by having success despite the lofty strikeout numbers.

•   I’d long been of the school of thought that a strikeout really wasn’t that much worse than any other kind of out (and, hey, saves you from a double-play!), but as the offensive environment in baseball has shifted over the last decade, it sure seems like not even giving yourself a chance to put the ball in play stings teams a lot more than any other kind of out. A strikeout has no chance at being a flukey hit or an error, and it has no chance of taking a juiced ball out of the park. These are old and obvious lessons, but I’m not so sure the Cubs (and, admittedly, a lot of us sabermetrically-inclined Cubs fans) have been on the right side of this one.

•   In 2020, there were 16 teams that posted a wRC+ of 101 or better. Just 5 of those 16 were in the bottom half of the league in strikeout rate. Of those other, bottom 14 offenses, all but two had a strikeout rate at 23.0% or higher.

•   Truly, the Astros are the heroes of this postseason:

•   #SensualBaseball:


•   I have expired:

•   People are doing a thing, and sometimes it makes me happy but sometimes it makes me sad:

•   Weights, tea, clothes, toaster ovens, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   It was a fun night for the Bears:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.